Yesterday, Today,Tomorrow

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When we say yesterday, today and  tomorrow together, our  thoughts naturally take us to  eternity.  Time is but a  miniscule  piece  carved out of  infinity, of which   we know  very little. When we  say that  our  God is  eternal, we  understand that  God  exists beyond and  without  time.  But our existence  is  bounded by  time and space.

Creation was the  point at which time started running. It was  also the  point  when  space  came into existence. Together they  define this   universe, its elements, its nature, its course  and  its destiny. Every living being  is born in history and  dies in history.  What   happened before  the  first page of  history was opened   and what  is  going to happen after the  last  page is  turned over is  reserved for the one  who is  eternal.  We are  not given permission to  have   even a glimpse of  eternity till the  moment we reach there.

In the visible  history of  our universe, the  most  important  moment was  when the Word of God  became flesh to live among us.  We cherish the memories of this  moment when we celebrate Christmas.  It is the remembrance of  a historical event that took place two thousand years ago.  We have every right to rejoice  and  sing hymns of  adoration to  our  God because the birth of  Jesus brought  ‘good news  of great joy for all the people’ (Lk 2:10).  But we fail miserably when we start seeing  Christmas only as an occasion to commemorate the  birth of Jesus. 

The Scripture  says that  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Our  remembrance of his birth also has to take into  account its past, present and future dimensions. The historical incident  that we  call  ‘first Christmas’ was  not  an isolated  incident. It was  preceded by, and  was  going to be  followed by, a  chain of events well planned in advance  by God the Father.  As such any  reference to Christmas  without taking into  account the  eternal  nature of  Divinity,  will be  misleading.  Christmas is something to be studied  in the  past, celebrated in the present and  looked for in the future.  These three aspects of  Christmas are intertwined and  one  cannot be separated from others.

Let us   see Christmas  from its  historical perspective.The birth of Jesus was   the  fulfillment of   a number of  prophecies  starting from the first  book of the Old Testament (Gen 3:15) to  its last book (Mal 4:2). Balaam’s oracle  describes  Jesus’ birth  as ‘a star coming out of  Jacob,  with a  scepter  rising out of Israel’ (Num 24:17). Isaiah prophesied about  the ‘Virgin giving birth to a  child named Immanuel’ (Isa 7:14). The prophet  records his visions about the future  Savior; ‘A shoot shall come out  from the  stump of Jesse, and a branch  shall grow out  of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord  shall rest on him, the spirit of   wisdom and understanding, the spirit of  counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the  fear of the Lord’ (Isa 11:1-2). Jeremiah tells about the days when God will raise up for David a righteous branch, who  should reign as  king and  deal wisely, and  should  execute  justice and  righteousness in the land (Jer 23:5-6). Daniel saw him as  one  ‘like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of   heaven and who was  to be given dominion and glory and kingship’ (Dan 7:13).

Thus the first Christmas  heralded the   dawn of a new era. An era when God  came down to dwell with  His people as one among them.  We are living in this past  when we  celebrate Christmas as remembrance of a historical event.  But  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today  and  tomorrow,  says the  Apostle.  He is  with us  every day, every moment. This is the  message of  Christmas in the present. Our Lord  instituted the  Sacrament of Eucharist so that  we would be  able to  experience  his living presence  at all times.  We know that  the  consecrated  host is the true body of  Jesus Christ, and the  consecrated  wine, his  true  blood. The same Jesus who lived in  flesh and blood in the  past is truly present before us  in Eucharist every day. This is the second Christmas which  is an ongoing process and is different from the  traditional  Christmas which was a  one time affair and   its remembrance being done  once in a year.  Christmas in the  present  means  the  birth of  Jesus  Christ in the hearts of  each one of  us everyday  in Holy Communion. This second Christmas makes it  possible for us to experience  the  living  presence of  Jesus Christ; truly it becomes an ‘ Immanuel experience’!

But Christmas is about something more.  It is not about  the birth of Jesus in the  past or  its  present re-enactment  in the Eucharist   everyday. Christmas is also  a pointer to the  final Sabbath, when Jesus will visit us again in glory. In fact  this is  going to be  the  final  Christmas. Hitherto we were experiencing the   love of   Jesus in the  form of  Holy Communion. Henceforth  it is  going to be  a personal experience where we  meet  Jesus Christ in person,  and live in his presence  forever.

If we pay heed to the warnings  from  heaven,  or the  messages  of  the Blessed Virgin, we should  have no doubt left in our minds as to the  truth that the  second coming of Jesus  Christ is nigh. If we  observe the  signs of the times, as Jesus  calls it, it becomes clear  that  what is prophesied to  take place  before the return of  Jesus Christ is   being  fulfilled before  our own eyes.   There is something common  between the  first  coming and  second coming  of  Jesus Christ. Mother Mary played a major  role in helping the  Word to  become flesh. She is also the   mother of the second coming.  Wherever she appeared  during the  past few decades, her message was clear; ‘Repent and  return to God’. Read it in conjunction with  what  our Lord said about the  end times; ‘And yet, when the  Son of Man comes, will he find  faith on earth?’ (Lk 18:8). All the  efforts of  our Holy Mother are  directed  to thwart the  fulfillment of this prophecy in our lives.

Come out of the past  to celebrate  Christmas in the present with  the  fond hope of  celebrating  the  final Christmas with our  Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, we are the chosen  generation  blessed to  witness the  glorious return of  Jesus Christ to this earth. 

We know that  the first  Christmas was the best  expression  of  God’s  infinite mercy towards the human race.  Similarly the second  Christmas  we celebrate every day in the  form of  Holy Communion is the  continuation of this  infinite mercy, the doors of which are  kept  open for us.  But a time is  coming when the doors of  Divine Mercy will be closed. Jesus revealed to  St Faustina that  those  who  refuse to  enter  through the   door of  Divine Mercy  will have to  enter  through the  door of Divine Justice. Blessed are they  who understand that we are  living in the  final hours  before the   door of  Divine Mercy is  closed and the  door of  Divine  Justice is opened. They live in a spirit of  anticipation of the great day when they are  going to meet  Jesus Christ in person to start an unending  celebration  of   Christmas with him. 

But unfortunately, there are others,who  fail to understand the  signs of the times and  spend their  days  ‘eating and drinking, marrying and  giving  in marriage’ (Mt 24:38), totally unaware  of what is in store for them. Every Christmas is a time to  pray  for our brethren  who are yet to  open their eyes to the  Truth.

Let us pray: Maranatha, Come, O Lord.

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